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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Ruth Mackey, a native of Caldwell, Idaho, is this year’s recipient of the Steele-Reese Scholarship at Reed College. This scholarship provides financial aid to students from small, rural towns in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or Oregon who have the ability and motivation to benefit from higher education. Mackey, who is a junior majoring in history, received $14,000 toward tuition, room and board, and other academic expenses. She was Reed’s first recipient of the Steele-Reese scholarship, for the 1997-1998 school year. Mackey is the daughter of Roger and Janet Mackey of Caldwell, Idaho.

The Steele-Reese Foundation was created in 1955 by Eleanor Steele Reese, a native New Yorker who grew up in a world of affluence and ease; her father was a partner of J.P. Morgan's. She pursued a serious musical career as an opera singer and recitalist. She moved to Shoup, Idaho, in 1941 after marrying Emmet P. Reese. Together they bought and operated a small working ranch in Shoup and later moved to a large spread in nearby Salmon, Idaho, which they operated until a few years before her death in 1977. They led a simple, strenuous life maintaining the ranch and their herd of Hereford bulls. The attitude behind their philanthropy was as firm and unsentimental as every aspect of their life on the ranch: they wanted to help people and organizations help themselves.

The foundation’s first preference for scholarships is for recipients from high schools in Idaho's Lemhi or Custer Counties.

Since its founding in 1908, Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, has remained steadfast in its commitment to provide one of the nation's most intellectually rigorous undergraduate experiences in the liberal arts and sciences: each of Reed’s 1,200 students must demonstrate competency in a chosen major by passing a junior qualifying exam and writing a senior thesis. "Success" at Reed is measured by a student's increased intellectual capabilities, with an emphasis on critical thinking and original thought.

Reed students and graduates receive some the country's most competitive fellowships and awards: Reed has produced 31 Rhodes Scholars since 1915, a number exceeded by only one other small college in the country. Reed also ranks first among all colleges and universities in the United States in the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in the life sciences and third overall in all disciplines.

Reed's award-winning faculty are dedicated teachers and scholars who work with students as partners in learning: a national study of 15,000 educators placed Reed first in the nation in faculty commitment to teaching.

"If you’re a genuine intellectual, live the life of the mind, and want to learn for the sake of learning, the place most likely to empower you is . . . the most intellectual college in the country&endash;Reed, in Portland, Oregon," says Loren Pope, former education editor of the New York Times, in his book Colleges That Change Lives (Penguin, 1996).

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